New Report Shows the Typical Park and Rec Agency Has One Park for Every 2,181 Residents

(April 3, 2019)

Three quarters of agencies ban the use of most/all tobacco products at their parks and facilities

Ashburn, Va. (April 3, 2019) — A new report issued by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) provides an in-depth look at the state of the industry for parks and recreation and important benchmarking data for park and recreation agencies nationwide. Key findings from the 2019 NRPA Agency Performance Review, which is published annually,show the typical park and recreation agency:  

  • Has one park for every 2,181 residents
  • Has 10.1 acres of park land for every 1,000 residents
  • Has 8.3 staff members for every 10,000 residents
  • Has operating expenditures per capita of $78.69
  • Recovers 27.3 percent of operating expenditures through revenue generation  

Other highlights from the report show:

  • Three quarters of park and recreation agencies ban the use of tobacco products at most/all of their parks and facilities
  • 82.4 percent of agencies offer summer camps
  • The majority (94.4 percent) of agencies have playgrounds
  • 86.1 percent of agencies have basketball courts
  • Two in 5 agencies offer senior centers

The 2019 NRPA Agency Performance Review, the most comprehensive resources of park and recreation data and insights in the United States, was produced using data from 1,075 park and recreation agencies in NRPA Park Metrics, NRPA’s benchmarking resource that assists park and recreation professionals in the effective management and planning of their operating resources and capital facilities. The report not only provides benchmarks, but also shows the breadth and depth of activities and roles that local park and recreation agencies are performing.

“At NRPA, we believe everyone deserves a great park; however, in order to achieve this vision, we must ensure our member agencies have the necessary tools,” said Barbara Tulipane, CAE, NRPA president and CEO. “This report provides our members with data they can use to get the support and funding they need to make an impact on the communities they serve.”

The 2019 NRPA Agency Performance Review helps park and recreation professionals evaluate the performance of their agencies and understand how they relate to their peers in terms of staffing, budget, amount of park space and facilities. Combining this data with other resources, such as NRPA’s Americans’ Engagement with Parks Report, Facility Market Reports, Economic Impact of Local Parks Report, Americans’ Broad-Based Support for Local Recreation and Park Services Report and Park Pulse polls, can help agencies receive the support they need to provide tailored services that meet the unique needs of their community.


NRPA Agency Performance Review Infographic


To view the report, interactive tables, customizable reports and corresponding infographic, visit  

To learn more about NRPA, visit


About the National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit